What is Fermentation?


For many years, humans have tried to collaborate with nature, whether that be through aggressive tactics or in harmony. A medieval philosophy, alchemy, was “the quest for… material perfection, produced through a creative activity, in which humans and nature collaborate.”1 

While the medieval goal was to turn lead to gold, the bigger picture means we are able to take something of low value and turn it into something magnificent. That’s what they’re doing at Perfect Day.

To produce an animal friendly whey protein, we use Perfect Day’s Microflora. Find out more about the Microflora here. Microflora (microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, or in our case, fungi) are very good at producing animal proteins.

Over the years, science has proven that bacteria and fungi have the ability to turn almost any molecule into the energy they need to live and reproduce. When paired with the genetic blueprint corresponding to whey protein, our microflora began to produce real milk protein. Learn about how Perfect Day “train” their Microflora here!

So instead of turning lead to gold, we’ve been turning Microflora into whey protein. This isn’t magic, it’s Fermentation.

You may not know a lot about fermentation, but it’s likely you’ve already had fermented products in your diet. Fermented foods can be anything from the bread you have for lunch to the pickles and kimchi that are accompanying your evening meal. Common drinks such as beer, wine and kombucha are also fermented.

Fermentation is at the heart of our process and our milk protein is some of the purest and safest milk protein in the world.

Curious as to how it works? Let’s dive in.

How does Fermentation work?

Fermented foods and drinks are becoming increasingly popular. Fermentation is the microorganism’s metabolic pathway for converting food into energy through an anaerobic process (without air or oxygen).2

The food and beverages industry are taking full advantage of the fermentation process and there are three main fermentation methods.3 There is traditional fermentation, biomass fermentation and precision fermentation, which we use.

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of fermentation and why we chose precision.

Different types of Fermentation

Below are the three main ways fermentation is used in food production.  

Traditional Fermentation

Traditional fermentation was invented long before the days of refrigerators and electricity powered freezers. It is an ancient culinary technique and has been used for thousands of years around the world. It was originally developed to preserve food in winter and for long journeys.3

Imagine your food going bad day after day? You’re going to have to get inventive. Whether it’s storing cabbage in rice wine and coming up with sauerkraut or using an animals stomach to keep your milk safe and realising you’ve created yoghurt, fermentation has brought food a long way.4 

Traditional fermentation means to introduce the product to the live microflora and let it transform the product naturally. As fermentation has developed, it has been used to alter flavor, texture, nutritional value, the best before date and the ease of digestion. Well known examples of traditional fermented foods are yoghurt, cheese and beer.

Biomass Fermentation

Biomass fermentation uses the high-protein content and rapid growth of microorganisms to make large amounts of protein-rich food. While it is similar to traditional fermentation, the final product is the microflora itself.5

Growing crops and animals can be a lengthy process, biomass fermentation takes full advantage of the microflora’s ability to increase their populations rapidly. The fungi or bacteria is introduced to the flora’s food source, they then eat, grow, and reproduce. The results are quick, high in protein and fiber and often used as meat substitutes.6

Biomass fermentation is an industry in rapid growth; some well known foods are Quorn, a meat substitute, and Marmite, the famous love it or hate it spread.

Precision Fermentation

Perfect Day use precision fermentationPrecision fermentation is the next step in evolution and will most definitely disrupt the food and beverages industry as it becomes more popular.7

Perfect Day chose to use precision fermentation when creating real milk proteins as it allowed them to ensure the ingredients were high purity and top quality.

As you already know, they use microflora and then pair it with the genetic blueprint corresponding to whey protein. When given a diet of simple plant-based inputs, the flora will naturally convert sugar into milk proteins identical to a cow.8 

The result is not only nutritious, but vegan-friendly and lactose, gluten, soy and hormone free.

The key to precision fermentation is modern biology, without these scientific advances we wouldn’t have the ability to create the things we do.

Before 1990, calf rennet was used to curdle milk. Calf rennet is extracted from the inner mucosa of the fourth stomach chamber of young, nursing calves. This is a byproduct of veal production. Rennet is a complex set of enzymes with a key component, Chymosin. Chymosin is a protease enzyme that curdles the casein in milk.9

Today, we know how to produce chymosin using fermentation. This now means that 90% of cheese made in the United States uses fermentation-produced chymosin.10 

The products produced by California Performance use the same kind of fermentation to make our animal-free sports nutrition products. 

How is it done?

In order for the microflora to be successful, it is put into a fermentation tank, also known as a bioreactor. This environment is adjusted to suit the needs of the microflora and make it the perfect home to create a lot of protein.

The Perfect Day team follow a highly regulated cleaning, production and extraction process throughout, ensuring that they are producing one of the best whey proteins on the market.

First they take a sterile, empty fermentation tank and fill it with a growth medium. In this instance, this is a liquid designed to support the growth of the microflora and ensure it’s success. It also has water, oxygen, nitrogen, salts, minerals, and vitamins. 

Next, the microflora is introduced to the growth media in an environment that is fully under the teams control, the fermentation tank. They adjust the temperature, pressure, pH, and stirring action to give the microflora the perfect conditions. It’s a comfy set up for the microflora! In these ideal conditions, it will eat, grow, and multiply, providing us with protein at a rapid rate.

This process comes to an end when the sugar has been used up and the microflora are no longer reproducing. The team are left with a “broth” that contains water, microflora, protein and some of the growth media. As the protein was the end goal, once the broth has been extracted from the tank, the team separate the protein and dry it.

The process is safe, sterile and successful, leaving us with pure protein powder that we use in our sports nutrition supplements.

Fermentation is our way of transforming the way the sports nutrition industry does whey protein. Our protein is creamy, delicious and the only animal-free true whey protein alternative on the market. All the benefits, less of the negative impact on the environment. Smarter production, stronger performance, and a safer planet. All thanks to the Perfect Day Process.

Shop all flavors of V-Whey protein here.

1.Pereira, Michela. (1998). Alchemy. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online.  rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/alchemy/v-1

2. What Are Fermented Foods? – Heart Foundation

3.Specht, Liz and Crosser, Nate. (2020). State of the industry report — Fermentation: An introduction to a pillar of the alternative protein industry. The Good Food Institute.

3. Traditional fermented foods from around the world (matadornetwork.com)

4.Yogurt. (2004, October).  DiWINETast. diwinetaste.com/dwt/en2004107.php 

5. Fermentation for alternative proteins 101 | Resource guide | GFI

6. Biomass Fermentation – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

7. Precision Fermentation: What exactly is it? | by RethinkX, disruptive technology think tank | Medium

8. Tubb, Catherine and Seba, Tony. (2019). Rethinking food and agriculture 2020–2030: The second domestication of plants and animals, the disruption of the cow, and the collapse of industrial livestock farming.RethinkX. 

9.Gladwell, Malcom. (1990, March 24). FDA approves bioengineered cheese enzyme. The Washington Post. washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1990/03/24/fda-approves-bioengineered-cheese-enzyme/c4292eeb-1c74-45d2-94c3-b0eb09e4866c/ 

10. Entine, Jon and Lim, XiaoZhi. (2018, November 2). Cheese: The GMO food die-hard GMO opponents love, but don’t want to label. Genetic Literacy Project. geneticliteracyproject.org/2018/11/02/cheese-gmo-food-die-hard-gmo-opponents-love-and-oppose-a-label-for/

Leave a Reply